News Outside of Piedmont: State of indiana signs law to protect religious freedom



News Editor, Interim EIC

On March 26, the state of Indiana signed a bill titled the Indiana Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed into law by Governor Mike Pence. 

This bill allows businesses to turn away customers based on their sexual orientation, according to an article published in the Huffington Post. 

In reaction, many Indiana residents have become more than outraged with the bill and are protesting the Indiana government for its choice in passing it. 

However, spokeswoman for the governor said that the bill was not passed to “discriminate against gay people and is similar to [the] 1993 federal law designed to protect American’s freedom of religion,” according to an article published on the CNN Money website. 

Indiana is the first state to pass this type of bill into law after various states have been met with proposals to do the same, according to the Chicago Tribune. The article continued to report that Pence said that there has been a lot of misunderstanding about the bill. 

“This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way, I would’ve vetoed it,” he said. 

However, thousands of American citizens feel differently, marching the streets of Indianapolis in protest. 

On March 28, protesters marched Indiana’s largest city carrying signs that read, “No hate in our state” and waving rainbow flags. 

Even other states have shown distaste for Indiana’s choice in the law. 

Seattle’s openly gay mayor, Ed Murray has banned city employees from travelling to Indiana on official business, according to the Reuters website. 

“None of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law,” said Murray. 

Taking notice to all of the negative reactions, Senate President David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma proposed protection for LGBT customers, employees and tenants on April 2. 

In Pence’s statement, he said that he first signed the law to raise judicial standards that would be used when government actions intruded the religious liberties of Indiana residents, according to the IndyStar. 

“Hoosiers [Indiana residents] deserve to know the Religious Freedom Restoration Act enhances protections for every church, non-profit religious organization or society, religious school, rabbi, priest, preacher, minister or pastor in the review of government action where their religious liberty is infringed,” said Pence. 

The proposed clarification, or new measure, of the law was made to ensure that the it did not discriminate against gay and lesbian customers of Indiana businesses. However, according to IndyStar, the new measure was approved into the law. In the meantime, many of the state’s resident’s remain hopeful to see results.